The “Harrier Jump Jet” is a famous military aircraft, renowned for its novel vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capabilities. Designed by McDonnell Douglas, a major user today is the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The subsonic AV-8B Harrier II variant fulfils light attack and multirole missions, its V/STOL characteristics making it an ideal aircraft to operate from U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships. The 14.12m-long aircraft can attain speeds of 1070km/h (Mach 0.89) and it has a range of 2200km. The USMC has operated the AV-8B since 1985, and nearly 100 Harriers are still in service at the present time.
Dragon has produced a stunning 1:144 scale plastic kit of the AV-8B Harrier, which is available as Item No. 4617. This is a 1+1 kit, meaning two complete aircraft are contained within the box. Sharply registered decals from Cartograf permit aircraft from two different squadrons to be represented. The two USMC units in question are VMAT-203 “Hawks” and VMA-513 “Flying Nightmares”. The latter squadron is based at Yuma, Arizona, and is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW). The former squadron, on the other hand, is a formation that provides training to aircrews from its base at Cherry Point. The 1:144 plastic aircraft are sharply molded in extraordinary detail, and two types of nose are provided to allow modelers to produce a slight variation in appearance. Modelers can also load up the seven hardpoints of their aircraft with highly detailed AN/AAQ-14 targeting pods, GBU-16 Paveway II bombs or AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. To reveal the detail inside the cockpit, the canopies are molded from transparent plastic. With everything the modeler needs already included in the box, this set of two AV-8B Harrier aircraft is all set for takeoff!